Mikolot Public Speaking Competition goes international

September 29, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Six students participated at Sydney’s Moriah College in the 2022 Grand Final of the Mikolot: Voices of the Future Public Speaking Competition.

Asher Hasofer, Noa Nerwich, Dana Bagle-Zevin, Rebecca Paratz, Naomi Kawaz and Asher Freedman

Competing were Asher Freedman (Moriah College) and Asher Hasofer (Masada College) from Sydney – from Melbourne: Dana Bagle-Zevin and Rebecca Paratz (Bialik College) – from Perth Naomi Kawaz (Carmel School) and travelling all the way from Johannesburg, South Africa – Noa Nerwich, (King David Linksfield).

Moriah’s Acting Head of Jewish Life & Learning, Ronnen Grauman, said:”We were so excited to raise the profile of Mikolot this year by including South Africa. It is such a privilege to host a competition that encourages collaboration among Jewish students from different cities and countries, cultivates better public speaking skills, promotes expression of Jewish voices, and assists students in participating in a gap year program in Israel. ”

The competition was held in Sydney’s Moriah College and was judged by Justice Rabbi Marcu Solomon, lawyer Paul Rubenstein, Josh Burns MP and businesswoman Cheryl Bart.

Winner: Rebecca Paratz

Mikolot is a Moriah College initiative backed by The Moriah Foundation as part of its endeavours to bring innovative programs and global opportunities to students and the community.

Launched in 2014 together with JDC (The Joint) Australia, the competition aims to bring students from Jewish schools together, cultivating public speaking skills and fostering a more refined expression of the Jewish voice in the modern world.

Winners receive a major contribution towards an approved Israel program thanks to the generous support of the Moriah Foundation and the competition’s exclusive corporate sponsor, Arnold Bloch Leibler.

The 2022 Grand Finalists were asked to participate in an impromptu task, as well as to prepare a four-minute speech on the topic:

“DO I REALLY MATTER?” – In Jewish thought, there is a relationship between G-d’s presence in the world and our freedom of choice. One of the existential questions based on this is, “If G-d controls the world, does what I do really matter?”

How do you reconcile this tension and how does your approach impact the way in which you contribute to the Jewish people and the world at large?

Congratulations to the 2022 winners:

First prize – Rebecca Paratz – Bialik College, Victoria – $4,500

Second prize – Naomi Kawaz – Carmel School, Western Australia – $3,240

Third prize – Noa Neriwch – King David Linksfield, Johannesburg – $1,800

“Mikolot – voices of the future, today! Listening to the Grand Finalists grapple with G-d being omnipotent and all-knowing vs human beings having true free choice, in an erudite and original fashion, with such poise and confidence, was an oratory delight. It reinforced the fact that they aren’t the leaders of the future, but rather the leaders of today!” said Moriah College Principal, Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler.

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